Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Driving Safety
You love your car and you should, since it plays such an important part in your life. You wash it every weekend and even vacuum the inside to pick up the stray crumbs and pet hairs that get on the seats and floors. But are your neglecting your tires? They will work uncomplainingly until the treads are worn thin or they meet one nail too many on the roads. You really shouldn’t wait until there’s a problem to check on your tires. If you take simple steps like making sure the tire air pressure is right, they’re rotated as often as they should be, and retread tires when needed, you can help them to serve you faithfully for a long time.
Keeping your tires in good condition and properly inflated can ensure your safety and save money. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind when it comes to taking care of your tires.
Tire air pressure
Maintaining the right tire air pressure is important for safety and for preventing wear and tear on your tires. It’s best to check your tire air pressure each time you have an oil change, since a visual inspection can be very misleading. You can’t feel just by looking if your tires are properly inflated.
Under-inflated tires cause stress and irregular wear on your tires, leading to loss of control and even accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that when tires are under-inflated by over 25%, the likelihood of an accident increases threefold.
When the treads on your tires start to wear out, it’s time to get new ones or head for a shop that can retread tires for you. By the time the tread is worn down to 6/32nds of an inch, your tires can no longer grip the road safely and should be replaced.
In bad weather, the risks of worn-out tire treads increase. Hydroplaning happens when tires lose contact with the road surface when driving at speed in heavy rain. When the tire treads are worn to groove depths below 1.6mm, hydroplaning starts when cornering at speeds of 47 mph and higher. For new tires, the corresponding speed is 60 mph.
In many cases, retreading can extend the lifespan of old tires. But it’s not always possible to retread tires and sometimes they just have to be replaced.
Rotation and alignment
It seems like a simple step, but checking on your tire alignment and rotating them as often as recommended by the manufacturer can extend their life and ensure that they wear evenly. The common opinion on tire alignment is that it should be checked every 6,000 miles. It’s best to have it done along with each oil change.
The recommended frequency for tire rotation is generally every 7,500 miles, but this may vary for different car manufacturers.
With winter just around the corner and snow actually overdue, it’s time to be thinking of winter tires. These can make a real difference to safety on snowy roads, giving your car a better grip on the road. If you decide to install winter tires, however, you must install all four.
Whether you have four-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, or rear-wheel drive, you can’t get away with just two winter tires. Installing just two will unbalance your car and make driving more risky. However, some insurance companies will take 5% off your car insurance premium, if your car has four winter tires installed.
For winter tires, it is sometimes possible to find used tires that cost much less than new ones. These should see you through a winter or two.
With winter coming on, it’s time to check if tire companies will give you a deal on winter tires or even just to retread tires for you. Safe driving!